|To build its new bun and roll line, Butterkrust Bakery tore up its parking lot and relocated it. This allowed the company to build the addition next to the existing bun and roll line, which created synergies. |
|During construction, a backhoe broke a waterline, but it was immediately fixed with only six hours of work lost. |
|Butterkrust Bakery began its expansion project in February 2004, and expects to complete it in time for Memorial Day in 2005. |
|Besides its plant, Butterkrust Bakery also expanded its parking lot. The new lot contains 146 spaces compared to the old lot's 95 spaces. |
|This series of pictures illustrates the demolition of Butterkrust Bakery's sifter room and the construction of the company's new sifter room. Besides the sifter, the new room also contains a use bin. |
|Editor's Note Throughout 2005, Baking Management will be running a four-article series on Butterkrust Bakery's expansion. The series of stories, "Anatomy of an Expansion: Butterkrust Bakery," will provides readers with an in-depth look at an expansion project from groundbreaking to construction to equipment selection to startup to completion and operation. For more information on Butterkrust Bakery's expansion, go to www.bakery-net.com.|
Running at full capacity is great, but it restricts a bakery from launching new products. This was the enviable but troublesome position that Butterkrust Bakery, Lakeland, Fla., was in at the end of 2004. Its existing bun and roll line was running at full capacity, preventing the bakery from launching new products.
"On an average week, the line is running about 96% capacity," Doug Wimberly, Butterkrust Bakery's president, says. "And during the holidays, the line is running at 130% capacity."
This production situation represents a serious problem for a bakery teeming with new product ideas. "If I don't have the availability to introduce new items, it will styme future growth," Wimberly says. "I have eight to 10 items that are ready to go that are going to be quality differentiated products. I just don't have the capacity to make them."
At least for now. Butterkrust Bakery is solving its capacity issues by investing $16 million in a plant expansion. As part of the expansion, the company will add 50,000 sq. ft. to its existing 200,000-sq.-ft. facility. This expansion will house a new bun and roll line, and create a new packaging room and shipping dock. The company also is upgrading its pan handling capabilities and various other systems to take advantage of the synergies created from operating two bun lines.
According to Information Resources Inc. statistics for the 52-week period ended Nov. 28, the fresh rolls/buns/croissants category reported sales of $1.77 billion, a 1.1% decrease compared to last year. For the same period, unit sales in the category dropped 3.1% to 1.21 billion units sold.
With the category in decline and multiple bakery closings throughout the country, an expansion of bun and roll capacity may appear ambitious to some, and even nonsensical to others.
"We don't base our decisions on what's going on in the baking industry," Wimberly says. "We based this decision on what our production needs are and what we think the future will be."
And, Wimberly says that Butterkrust's future looks good. Through its close partnership with Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets, Butterkrust Bakery has expanded its bun and roll offerings in both the retail and in-store segments. Beyond traditional bun and roll products, the company is gearing up to launch a variety of new products, including baked-off dinner rolls with sesame seeds, low-carbohydrate buns and rolls, and sweet nine-grain steak rolls.
Investment in innovation
The growth of Butterkrust Bakery's bun and roll business spurred the company to invest in a new expansion that would more than double the capacity of its bun and roll operations. This new expansion marked the latest chapter in a series of capital investments completed by the bakery since Wimberly joined the company 15 years ago.
In fact, Wimberly's first capital investment program was planning and installing the company's existing 1,000 cuts per minute bun and roll line. Shortly after that, the company converted to a sponge and dough system and invested $13 million in a 200 cuts per minute bread line. The company's latest investment involved converting one of its traditional pan bread lines into a premium bread line.
"I look at my people sometimes and I say, 'Are we ever going to have a year where we're not trying to build things or take care of new business coming our way?' We've invested somewhere in the neighborhood of $38 million in the last 12 years," Wimberly says.
To maximize synergies, Butterkrust Bakery made plans to install its new bun and roll line adjacent to its existing one. However, there was a major obstacle in the way: a parking lot. The company overcame this hurdle by purchasing a 9.5 acre lot next to the bakery and relocating the parking lot. The company broke ground on the new parking lot last February, and completed it by May, paving the way for the company to break ground on the bun and roll line expansion.
"Because we moved the parking lot, we were able to put the new building right next door to the wall of the existing bun shop," Wimberly states.
With the parking lot out of the way, serious construction was set to begin. Butterkrust Bakery hired Register Construction & Engineering Inc. to build the facility. Butterkrust Bakery chose Register based on its track record of building bakeries and its ability to communicate.
"The real key to picking the right construction company is being able to communicate well with the people," Wimberly says. "In construction, there are constant issues and answers have to be given immediately."
One such issue arose early in the construction process when a backhoe accidentally broke a waterline. Immediately after it happened, Wimberly says the construction company had parts flown in to fix the problem. The waterline was fixed, and only six hours of work were lost.
Another mark of a good construction company, Wimberly says, is its ability to commit to a schedule. So far, the company is on track to complete the project by end of April--just in time to ramp up production for Memorial Day. The company expects to have the new building completed by this month. After that, the fun really begins. Baking Management will continue to track the progress of Butterkrust Bakery's expansion project in the magazine and online at www.bakery-net.com. *